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Netflix Is Shutting Down User Reviews This Summer

Netflix no longer wants to share your opinions about TV shows or movies with the rest of the world.

The streaming giant is phasing out user-submitted reviews over the next two months. As first reported by CNET, Netflix will stop accepting user reviews as of July 30. Then, by mid-August, it will delete all reviews customers have submitted.

According to Netflix, over time it has seen a drop in usage of user reviews — which are available only on its website via computers. But some titles have garnered a strong outpouring of feedback: Its popular original series “Stranger Things,” for example, currently has 3,897 reviews on the Netflix U.S. site.

Ultimately, Netflix’s decision to eliminate user reviews likely boiled down to one thing: They probably have not, on balance, driven people to watch more content on the service. Negative reviews, it would seem, aren’t good for business — especially as Netflix increases its spending on original programming.

The reviews feature on Netflix has allowed viewers to rate a TV show or movie using a five-star scale. The reviews must be at least 80 characters, with a max of 1,999 characters.

Netflix’s shutdown of user reviews comes a little more than a year after it killed the long-standing five-star rating systems for content recommendations. Now, users rate titles using thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Netflix displays a personalized percentage “match score” for titles based on its calculation of what kind of TV shows and movies you’ll enjoy.

According to Netflix, thumbs-based ratings deliver more accurate recommendations and they’re easier for people to understand than the five-star scale. The company said that in testing, it saw a 200% increase in ratings by users with the thumbs-up/thumbs-down system.

Other digital-content services — including Amazon and Apple’s iTunes — continue to list user ratings and reviews. Last year, Amazon-owned IMDb shut down user discussion boards because, it said, they were “no longer providing a positive, useful experience” for the majority of its users.

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